"The racist, verbal, and physical assaults have left my community fearful to step outside."

By InStyle
February 11, 2021
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This story originally appeared on InStyle.com by Kimberly Truong.

Olivia Munn has added her name to the growing list of public figures calling attention to the continuing rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans.

"Over the past few days I've found myself at a loss for words at the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes," Munn shared on an Instagram post on Tuesday. "The racist, verbal, and physical assaults have left my community fearful to step outside. These hate crimes have spiked since Covid and continue to increase even though we ask for help, even though we ask our fellow Americans to be outraged for us, even though we ask for more mainstream media coverage." (Related: How Racism Can Affect Your Mental Health)

Munn's post comes after a string of recent physical attacks against elderly Asian-Americans in the past few weeks. On Jan. 28, 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee was brutally shoved to the ground in San Francisco in an incident that was caught on surveillance video and subsequently went viral as people expressed their outrage. Ratanapakdee died days later.

On Jan. 31, a 91-year-old Asian man was violently pushed to the ground in Oakland's Chinatown in broad daylight, compelling actors Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu to offer a $25,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest for the assault. On Tuesday, a 28-year-old man named Yahya Muslim was arrested for the incident as well as a series of other random attacks targeting Asians in the neighborhood.

On February 3, a 64-year-old Vietnamese grandmother in San Jose was mugged in broad daylight after withdrawing money from the bank for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread in the U.S. last year, there has been an alarming uptick in attacks against Asian-Americans spurred at least in part by former President Donald Trump attributing the virus to Asians, calling it the "Chinese virus" and "Kung flu."

The Queens Chronicle reported in September, NYPD data showed that there has been a 1,900 percent increase anti-Asian hate crimes in New York City in the past year. Way back in April, the FBI warned of a potential surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans, writing, "The FBI assesses hate crime incidents against Asian Americans likely will surge across the United States, due to the spread of coronavirus disease ... endangering Asian American communities. The FBI makes this assessment based on the assumption that a portion of the US public will associate COVID-19 with China and Asian American populations."

This past week, Crazy Rich Asians star Gemma Chan spoke out about the attacks on Twitter, writing, "Hate crimes against Asian Americans have skyrocketed but too often these attacks are ignored & underreported." (Related: Eva Longoria Hosted an Important Conversation About COVID-19 In the Latinx Community)

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also condemned the recent attacks, writing, "We stand with our Asian American & Pacific Islander community against the rising tide of racism and hate crimes that have been stoked to a fever pitch, much of amplified by the actions of our last president. It's on all of us to speak up against bigotry & protect our neighbors." (Related: Tools to Help You Uncover Implicit Bias — Plus, What That Actually Means)

The recent hate crimes come despite President Joe Biden signing an executive action last month directing federal agencies to combat xenophobia against the Asian American Pacific Islander community.

In the past few weeks, people have been sharing and reposting verified information about the attacks on social media in an effort to draw much-needed attention to the rising hate crimes. A GoFundMe has been started to support the family of Ratanapakdee.

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